18 Under 18: Jabari Parker

The nation's No. 1 junior draws comparisons to Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce

Updated: February 28, 2012, 8:41 PM ET
By Michael Grimala | ESPNHS Magazine

ESPNHS honors 18 male teen athletes who are doing remarkable things on the field, in the classroom and in their communities. Click here to read about them.

"I think he can be one of the best basketball players that ever lived." That's how Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) coach Robert Smith describes his 17-year-old junior forward.

And Smith knows what he's talking about -- he's coached players like NBA MVP Derrick Rose, a Simeon alum. Jabari Parker, the No. 1 player in the ESPNU 60, combines size (6-foot-8) with skill, drawing comps to bigger players like Paul Pierce and Carmelo Anthony because of his polished offensive game.

"I think I have good footwork," says Parker. "I can dribble well for my size, and I can shoot a little bit. I'm just trying to make sure my game is as complete as it can be. I don't want to have any holes."

Opponents haven't found any holes in his game so far, as he's led Simeon to state championships in each of his first two high school seasons. Parker, who averaged 16.1 points and eight rebounds per game last year, had Simeon on course for another state title this year.

Just about every big-time basketball program in the country has targeted him as its No. 1 priority in the Class of 2013, with schools like Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State and Kansas doing their best to bring him aboard.

"I want to keep getting better," says Parker. "Every day I'm working to get better. I'm not even close to being as good as I can be."